Welcome, my name is Harley Craig. I am the proud new owner of this beautiful 1967 Chevelle Malibu L79. The car was restored by Phil Tresner. I learned about this car from Phil's website. I would like to share this car's history and restoration with you.
Update: A new web page has been added with photos taken by my brother Benny Craig. Visited this page to see new photos.
Click on each photo to enlarge the picture in each Thumbnail Panel.
Let us start at the beginning of my experiences with this Chevy legend. In the muscle car wars I campaigned a 327 L79, backed by a Muncie M21 trans and a 4:11 posi rear. With a little head work, a good set of Hooker Headers and a super tune, I was seldom beat. The nearest drag strip was at 4,500 feet elevation. I ran in D/stock turning in 13.9 second runs at a little over 100 MPH, with street tires.
By today's standards the above times sound slow. Engine and tire technology have really advanced the performance of modern automobiles. In the sixties a good driver/tuner could hook up a small block car while a big block muscle car was fighting for traction. It was like having a head start. In Super Stock, and quicker classes, wider slicks were allowed. A high performance big block car, with a good driver/tuner, could really move.
After retiring I began thinking of restoring another car. Of course, a L79 powered Chevelle was first on my list. Original, low mileage L79’s are very rare and expensive. During an eighteen month search I only found two cars worth having, but I was unable to purchase either one. I passed over a few beaters and rust buckets in my search for a quality car. I even tried some of the auctions but to no avail.
In the Spring of 2004 a beautiful 1967 Chevelle Malibu Sport Coupe was offered for sale. Except for a few Chevelles with body off restorations, it was by far one of the finest cars out there. It was an original 327 Malibu loaded with many of the options we like to have on our modern cars. It was a two owner car with only 71,000 original miles, and it had always been garaged.
I started thinking that if I restored this Malibu I could keep it looking stock, add more options and upgrades, and have the best Malibu around. Upgrading the entire car to factory correct L79 specifications would be my first concern. In the 60’s my car had a 4-speed, but now that I am in my 60’s I prefer an automatic transmission. The automatic was the only major variation I made in this restoration. A street strip Turbo Hydramatic with a 2,000 RPM stall converter works well with the L79 engine. Full throttle shifts are set a 5,500 RPM’s. If the automatic were swapped for a Muncie M20 with an original shifter, it would be almost impossible to tell that this was not an original factory L79 car.
I have tried to preserve the history of this fine car by keeping its appearance stock and in show room condition. I have borrowed a few parts from later model Chevelles to improve safety, driveability and serviceability. The car is 99% made in the USA. I kept the use of aftermarket reproduction parts to a bare minimum. The car was built with mostly 67 Chevelle parts, NOS parts, later model Chevelle parts, interchangeable Chevy parts, GM licensed reproductions, and parts from GM original equipment manufacturers.
This is not a restomod. This is a Chevelle that Chevrolet could have built. Just like on the assembly line I took parts from the GM parts bins and added more options to this fine car. If I walked into a dealership today, this is how I would order my 1967 Malibu.
I spent over three years researching and gathering the parts I would need. The ground up restoration took another three years to complete. This was a nut and bolt restoration while trying to preserve the car’s pristine condition. Looking closely under the car you may see a few spots beginning to show a little surface rust where the factory did not paint. To me the clean original floor pans are part of the beauty of this amazing car.
In the early months of 2011 this new Malibu went on its first test drive. With a few adjustments and a good tune up it runs and handles like it just came off the assembly line. Actually, it is better than new. There is no wind noise, it stops well, it has very good handling, and the acceleration takes me back to the 60’s.
A little information about me may be in order. I have a degree in automotive technology and was an ASE certified technician. I began my factory training with GM back in 1970. I have been a college level automotive instructor and a GM contract trainer. I am very detail orientated.
The price for this Malibu is $50,000 (US currency). This puts it in the middle of the price range for a ground up restored, documented L79. Very few if any L79s were produced with the options this car has. This car comes with a complete history plus all the options and creature comforts not normally found on a L79 car. Today as I cruise, I like all these modern features, as my Malibu shows its tail lights to most of the big block muscle cars.
This is a partial listing of the Regular Production Options that this Malibu is equipped with. They are bucket seats, headrests, console, tach and gauges, AM/FM radio, tilt wheel, tinted glass, factory air, power disc brakes, power steering, special suspension, 325 HP 327, TH automatic transmission, 3.73:1 posi 12 bolt rear. For a complete listing of all the options see the Facts/Features section.
The quality of this car is excellent. It will only go up in value because it is almost all original Chevy parts, made in the USA. Today, it has become almost impossible to duplicate a car like this. You may find a Malibu at a lower price, but if it was restored with cheap repo parts, what will it be like in five years? On this car everything works to factory specifications or better. It is ready to drive home.